Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner

Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner





Gina Wisker

Dissections emerged following some creative discussions at ICFA, the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts, at Fort Lauderdale in 2006, not exactly round the fire as a journal might have emerged in early nineteenth century Britain, but round the pool one dark evening following a very creative set of papers on Michael Arnzen’s horror writing and an equally creative set of poetry and prose readings. There really was a dearth, we decided, of places to which we might send our work in its variety, though of course there are good literary horror journals (not many) and very many outlets for horror fiction, if few for poetry. What was needed was a publication which could combine across the field, as those gathered in the warmth of a Florida evening at ICFA equally combined across the varieties of the horror field. For me the possibility of an e-journal also came about as I had edited special horror editions of two journals, Femspec and Diegesis, and contributed to Gothic Studies, where, because and when I put these special editions together, it struck me that there was a dearth – not an absence, but a dearth – of just the right pieces to encourage and publicise, print, and so to further this remarkable genre, which has laid a little dormant for a while, and which now emerges like the sticky pterodactyl in Deena Warner’s picture, from a broken egg of restraint and history. What we tried to do was to encourage and develop the ongoing dialogues about horror, its origins, formats and effects, in a way which celebrates an age-old, newly metamorphosing scariness, and the way it homes in on our cultural, social, psychological and personal fears, disturbing what is familiar, intruding notions of dis-ease, to prompt renewed scepticism about complacency, to prompt new awareness, or whatever you think horror is for – there’s an opening for debate!

One of the great opportunities an e-journal has is to enable a forum for the development of a critical, creative awareness and expression of and about this metamorphosing genre – and as an e-journal it can do this quickly, can be accessed with immediacy. It can hit the current nerve.

This first edition, as with future editions, features creative work – prose, poetry and images – alongside essays from notable scholars and appreciators of the horror genre – many of whom are also practitioners. These kinds of intersection can enable a rich dialogue between the creative in all its developing forms, and the critical. In particular, this first edition celebrates and explores the work of Michael Arnzen, a pioneer in bringing horror not just into our homes but onto our palm tops and laptops. As a launch of an e-journal it is a perfect start to feature Michael’s work. It was at our session forming critical appraisals and appreciation of his flash fiction, his nasty domestic horror, his unique contribution to the making of horror and technology that Dissections began to emerge from its shell in the first place. So it is only fitting that in this first edition we have a series of essays which explore Mike’s works, an essay from Mike himself and a small snippet of his creative prose ‘Pop-Up Killer’. Creative writer and critics Larry Connolly and Dave Sandner explore Mike Arnzen’s flash fiction, its use of the immediacy enabled by technology and the different outlets Mike uses – from his ‘Goreletter’, an e-newsletter, to Gorelets, a collection of poems, 100 Jolts, short fiction and then latterly the film Exquisite Corpse, which has taken his work further with contributions from several avant-garde short film makers responding to elements of his fiction and poetry. The 2007 ICFA will feature a panel looking at this film and Mike’s work.

This first edition of Dissections also contains a particularly delightful and disturbing range of critical essays on horror and its effects, short fictions, poetry and some images. We invite further contributions for the next edition.

Enjoy! And please contribute.

Website maintained by Michelle Bernard - Contact m.bernard@anglia.ac.uk - last updated October 17, 2006